For Immediate Distribution


Carlos Perea,


New data by Advancement Project California compares city budget expenditures on positive youth development vis-à-vis expenditures on arrest and suppression

Santa Ana, CA – Today, Resilience OC—an organization that engages youth leaders to build youth-oriented institutions in Orange County—released new data that estimates how much the City of Santa Ana spends to arrest and suppress youth ages 0-19 rather than provide youth programming that supports healthy youth development.  The data finds that in 2017, the City of Santa Ana will spend $19.55 million on arresting youth, while only spending $15.3 million on city-sponsored youth development programs.

In Santa Ana, city resources allocated towards healthy youth development are limited to workforce development, the library, and programming provided by the department of parks and recreation.

“Youth make-up one third of our city’s population, however, they are the least supported by the city,” said Abraham Medina, Executive Director of Resilience OC. “The city’s future will depend on how well we invest and treat our youth and, unfortunately, the city is investing too much on punishment. Our youth need investments in real safety, such as after school programs, community centers, and in data driven responses to youth behavior that are not the police department. Currently, in one of the youngest cities in the nation, the only systemic response to address youth behavioral problems is the police department. This is an indicator of a city, which is failing the needs of its youth and is not knowledgeable in the area of youth development. It is time we invest in youth.”

“The city council’s recent vote to cancel $500,000 in after-school and arts programming, and potentially spend that money on more police, is just another example of the city’s misplaced priorities” added Ana Siria Urzua, Campaign Coordinator at Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities.

The data, which was compiled by the Advancement Project California for Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities, a health collaborative of community serving organizations and adult and youth residents, analyzed the City of Santa Ana’s budget expenditures for 2017 to identify positive youth investments as well as investments on youth suppression.  Major findings from the data include:

  • Santa Ana City spends $143 per youth per year on positive youth development, while it ultimately spends $12,722 each time they arrest a young person.
  • Crime rates are lower now in Santa Ana than they were in 2005.
  • 53% of the city budget is spent on police.
  • The city spends just over $1 million dollars on youth workforce development.

“It was challenging to discover how much the City is spending on youth development, because programs are scattered through different departments, with no clear strategy for prioritizing and investing in youth,” said Mike Russo, Associate Director of Equity in Public Funds at Advancement Project California.

The data was compiled by examining City departments’ budgets and the percentage share that are involved in direct youth operations compared to the department’s total non-administrative budget. This methodology was used for the Parks, Recreation and Community Services and Police Department budgets. Find the full data report here, please contact Mike Russo at for any questions regarding the data.


About Resilience Orange County

Resilience Orange County is an organization that was created in 2016 out of the merging of two established organizations RAIZ (Resistencia Autonomia Igualdad y lideraZgo) and Santa Ana Boys and Men of Color. For more information, visit

About Advancement Project California

Advancement Project is a next generation, multiracial civil rights organization. In California, we champion the struggle for greater equity and opportunity for all, fostering upward mobility in communities most impacted by economic and racial injustice. We build alliances and trust, use data-driven policy solutions, create innovative tools, and work alongside communities to ignite social transformation. For more information, visit